481.4 Disney in Latin America: Visualizing the new generation of global children’s television

Friday, August 3, 2012: 11:21 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Angharad VALDIVIA , University of Illinois, Urbana
Since its inception in 1923 as a small cartoon studio, Disney has flourished into one of the top 6 global media conglomerates.  Practically inventing the concepts of synergy and convergence in a global setting, Disney industries have maintained an active and profitable presence in Latin America.  This paper explores the contemporary presence of Disney in the media and ethno-scapes of major cities, such as Buenos Aires, Santiago, Bogota, etc.  Because of its global marketing strategy Disney has been at the forefront of including national regions and ethnic characters and actors into its children television programming.  Granted, these efforts have often relied on simplistic and sometimes offensive stereotypes.  However the recent effort to reach out to ethnic audiences without offending the implicit white mainstream have resulted in a range of programming and Disney stars who can be potentially coded as ethnic yet are light enough to pass as white.  Many of these programs and stars—such as the High School Musical trilogy and actors such as Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato—are widely advertised and circulated in Latin America.  This paper explores the deployment of these shows and actors in the cityscape—though bill boards, product placement, and ubiquitous Disney products in papelerías, clothing stores, and drugstores—to mention just a few of the locations where Disney branded products are sold.  Through an addition of the new ambiguous ethnic to the classic Disney fantasy product, this global conglomerate manages to remain current and profitable in the changing global city.